Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/490

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

members of their families, as husbands their wives and children, and in other cases the wives owned husbands and children, and again children owned their parents, in order to protect them or ultimately to set them free; the complicated legislation in regard to free negroes at various times and in various places often made it difficult for a free member of a family to manumit the others; sometimes when so liberated they had to be sent out of their state. A large number were owners of slaves without regard to relationships and held them for service and bought and sold them just as did the white people.

The negroes brought with them from their native land African ideas and customs. They were used from immemorial times to slavery. Many of those brought thence to America had been slaves in their own land. Others had been owners of slaves in Africa. In both cases they were used to slavery. It did not therefore seem to them unnatural for a negro in America to hold his brethren in bondage, when he had become free and able to buy his fellows. William Pitt, the younger, in a speech, April 2, 1792, in the British Parliament, on the abolition of the slave trade, said, "Some evidences say that the Africans are addicted to the practise of gambling; that they even sell their wives and children and ultimately themselves." The black man in America has always been imitative, and his desire to do what the white man did doubtless also influenced him in this matter. Moreover, there were in his country tribal differences and antagonisms which continued to obtain in America; the "Guinea nigger" was looked down on by members of superior tribes, and one of a higher race often felt that a Guinea negro was fit only to serve him.

Free negroes in this country began to own other blacks at a very early period in the history of slavery. As illustrating this fact, there is in the possession of the Connecticut Historical Society at Hartford, Conn., a bill of sale from Samuel Stanton, Stonington, Conn., dated October 6, 1783, to Prince, a free negro, of a slave woman named Binar; on the reverse is a bill of sale from Prince to Isaac Denison, Stonington, August 28, 1785, of the same Binar, a slave. One of the first records in the deed books of St. Augustine, Fla., is that of Joseph Sanchez, a colored carpenter, who sold to Francisco P. Sachez a negro slave for three hundred dollars. Such a servant was sold to a negro in Boston, Mass., November 28, 1724. This bill of sale from Dorcas Marshall to Scipio, free negro man and laborer of Boston, of her servant Margaret is given in full in "The New England Historical and Genealogical Register," in the eighteenth volume, on the seventy-eighth page. Early records of Mobile, Ala., reveal the same state of things in that region. Juan Batista Lusser, in 1797, was one of these negro slave-holders, as were also Julia Vilard, Simon Andry and the house of Forbes.